Michelle is a past student who graduated from the 2011 Diploma in Humanistic Counselling and Psychotherapy Course. This is her testimonial
As this is our graduation, I volunteered to say a few words today on my experience on this course and as I stand here I’m thinking I must have been mad!!!!!
I believe it’s important that one of us from the class say a few words as this is our graduation and a testament to our hard work and commitment in being here today. I hope my experience is also a reflection of others in the class.
I mentioned the word commitment and any of us graduating here today know of the commitment we have given to completing this course. Yes we were here every week but there was so much more and I believe it is important to acknowledge this.
This course is no ordinary course. I remember at times my family and close friends asking me how I was getting on……I used to think…”how can I answer this?…. and I’d say “Ah its grand”….And do you know at times it wasn’t grand, it was really difficult. I think if I had tried to explain to them at the time they would have thought I was crazy…. Lord knows I thought that too at times. Each week that I came here, I realised others felt the same way so that was reassuring.
What I loved about this course was the experiential learning piece. How can I explain this? For me it is learning by actually doing. Learning from a book stimulates my mind whereas experiential learning stimulates my thoughts, feelings and behaviour and I loved this. Part of it too was the discussions we had as a group after a learning piece. To me it was invaluable and it is the part I miss the most about our class.
There was a huge emphasis on personal development in our training and I believe, in becoming a counsellor, this is so important. In fact I believe it is essential. The image that has always come to my mind when I think about the personal development piece is that I was like a house made from Lego. Do you remember the box of Lego we had as kids with all different colours and sizes and then there was the green base on which you made your house?
During my time as a student on this course, I have taken apart my house piece by piece. I have looked at each piece closely; some of them I liked others I didn’t like. There were times when I didn’t want to take it apart. I didn’t want to look at the pieces and this was very challenging. Eventually I began the process of rebuilding my house and I realised that I didn’t want it to be the same as it was. I wanted it to be different. This was both exciting and scary and I learned so much about myself in doing this.
As I graduate today I am deeply proud of my achievement. From the time I left school many years ago being a counsellor was always in the back of my mind. I am passionate about the work I do, knowing I will always be learning, wanting to learn and feeling privileged to accompany clients on their journey through counselling; a journey that more often than not is a very painful and difficult one. Thank you to my tutors, my supervisor, the staff in Fingal Counselling Service and most of all to the group I graduate with today. You have all helped me along the way.
I would like to finish with a quote from one of the many books I have read. This is a T S Eliot quote from the book ‘To Call Myself Beloved’ by Eina McHugh (2013)
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”